Wayne Kelly is on the mark

Car­bon­ear res­i­dent headed to world darts stage

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER TC ME­DIA nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Car­bon­ear res­i­dent Wayne Kelly got an early start in the sport of darts.

As a young­ster, the 54-year-old got a dart board one Christ­mas from his mother. It was an old fash­ion model with card­board in the mid­dle and plas­tic wiring along the front.

The ones to­day are made with sisal fi­bres and last a fair amount of time.

It wasn’t long be­fore Kelly was look­ing for a new board. His con­sis­tent as­sault on the board soon had an ad­verse af­fect on his new toy.

“Be­fore Christ­mas was over, I think I had it all worn out,” he told The Com­pass last week. “It’s been a num­ber of years now and I’m al­ways play­ing darts.

Fast-for­ward a cou­ple of decades and Kelly is turn­ing that child­hood pas­time into a ser­vice­able skill.

It’s taken him from throw­ing darts in his lo­cal league to chal­leng­ing the best this coun­try has to of­fer in places like Mon­treal and Van­cou­ver.

Kelly has been suc­cess­ful ev­ery­where he’s gone and in June he was named a mem­ber of Canada’s en­try in the up­com­ing World Mas­ter’s Dart Cham­pi­onship be­ing held in Cam­ber­ley, Sur­rey in the United King­dom Dec. 1-4.

He joins Vin­cent Nose­wor­thy from Grand Falls-Wind­sor on the team. Kelly re­ceived the op­por­tu­nity af­ter a strong show­ing at the Cana­dian Adult Na­tional Darts Cham­pi­onships held in Rich­mond last sum­mer.

There, he fin­ished first in men’s dou­bles, joint third in men’s sin­gles and was a part of this prov­ince’s en­try that fin­ished sec­ond in the Nodor Knock­out Cup.

His per­for­mance landed him third over­all with the top four go­ing to the world tour­na­ment.

“It’s a big thing, I tell ya,” said Kelly. “It’s hard to do. I’ve been try­ing to get there a long time.”


Since find­ing out he’d been se­lected to Team Canada, Kelly has been throw­ing as many darts as he can, wher­ever he can.

Whether it’s in his home league at the Har­bour Breeze in Har­bour Grace or in his base­ment, there’s been plenty of time al­lot­ted for train­ing.

“Re­ally, you should be play­ing a lot of tour­na­ments,” said Kelly. “It keeps you sharp.”

Prior to the tour­na­ment, he headed to his cabin for a week moose hunt­ing and there’s even a dart­board there.

When you think of darts, you don’t nec­es­sar­ily think of train­ing ex­ten­sively for a com­pe­ti­tion. Yet, the ath­letes have to keep their body in fine form and their mind sharp too.

“You’re just try­ing to get in shape re­ally,” he said. “It’s the en­tire game. You can’t just be fin­ish­ing. You’ve got to score, you’ve got to hit your triples, your dou­bles and the bull’s-eye some­times. It all comes into play.”

Mov­ing on

Darts is as much men­tal as it is phys­i­cal. Ath­letes need to be able to move be­yond the bad shot and keep fo­cus as the game moves for­ward. There’s al­ways another dart to throw and think­ing about it can cause prob­lems in a high stakes game like the one Kelly finds him­self in next month.

“There are some days you’re off and any­body can beat you. Some days you’re on and you’re as good as some of the best in the world. Which­ever one you’re go­ing to have, you don’t know,” he said. “You’ve got to be pre­pared for this. You can’t think ahead. You gotta fo­cus on who you’re play­ing, what you’re play­ing. There’s a lot of good play­ers out there.”

“You’ve got three darts and you’ve got to make ev­ery one of them work.”

Darts is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal on the other side of the At­lantic. Crowds on this side are a bit more sub­dued, whereas fans get a bit out of hand when in Eng­land. They’re drink­ing, shout­ing and gen­er­ally hav­ing a wild time as they pull for their favourite player.

Out­side foot­ball — soc­cer — it’s be­lieved to be the sec­ond big­gest sport in the Eng­land.

Kelly is look­ing for­ward to get­ting into that environment.

“You’re ex­pec­ta­tions can’t be too high your first time try­ing,” said Kelly. “You’re go­ing to be tight and a bit ner­vous.”

This will be his first time head­ing to Eng­land and it’s darts that is tak­ing him there.

“I never thought I’d get here be­cause of darts,” said Kelly. “It’s a hard thing to do.”

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